Weak Business Logo Or No Brandmark at All – Is Your Brand Visually Fit to Survive the Recession?

Many entrepreneurs still hang onto a weak brandmark (logo) that was created before the recession with clipart or by an under-qualified “expert”. The maestro usually turns out to be the entrepreneurs’ spouse’s sister’s brother-in-law’s daughter who has just bought a PC with CorelDraw, an equally inept art student or the jack-of-all-trades web developer that claims logo design as part of his or her many specialist skills or an under-qualified “designer/graphic artist” at an advertising agency.

A website with all the technical bells and whistles and search engine optimisation is not enough to ensure on or off-line commercial success. Weak or no visual branding of an enterprise will almost certainly put it in danger of appearing on the list of extinct businesses during this recession. A visually fit brand and brandmark boost not only your website’s success but extend beyond and across all media and will help your brand and in turn, your business survive the recession.

According to Netcraft the well-respected Internet research company, active websites have grown from around 60-million to around 78-million for the period June 2007 – June 2009. That means, in spite of the recession, your competition on the World Wide Web has increased by 30% over the past two years. However, did your potential market increase by 30%? Chances are it decreased by 30% or at best remained at around the pre-recession level.

Birds are clever dinosaurs

Businesses that have done well before the recession with a weak brandmark or without proper branding, now face brand stagnation that will lead to brand extinction. Because you never had any real brand equity, it is so easy for a newcomer with a good branded product or service to step in and take over your market. By the time you find out about the new kid on the block (and that block could be in Albania), he will already be one step ahead of you and you would have lost the only advantage you had: time to build a brand.

No matter how good your product or service is without the B word, in today’s world you have only half a business and are in danger of extinction. Now that the World Wide Web gives everyone an opportunity to shop around without leaving their homes, clients and customers have choices – that increase by the minute – they never had before. Suddenly they are able to buy your product or service virtually anywhere in the world and get it delivered in 24 hours or even instantly.

If you want to survive the extinction of the poorly branded or unbranded product or service that the cataclysmic recession is causing, you have to evolve in the way some clever dinosaurs did to avoid extinction. They grew wings, became warm-blooded and ended up as birds, soaring the skies in wonderful plumage, advertising their brand of species. Get your product or service brand fit before it becomes a fossil even unsuitable for a museum. In addition, it will be your insurance policy that will help form an entry barrier against competitors targeting your clients or customers now and after the recession. So how do you get your brand and brandmark visually fit?

Creating a successful brandmark

A brandmark is formed by a symbol (the face of a brand), the brandname set in unique type and a descriptor. This should all be in a single distinctive and dominant colour and in the correct visual format. A slogan – also referred to as a by-line, tagline, strapline or pay-off line – is used as part of the brandmark to position or promote the brand. Ideally, the descriptor and the slogan should be a combined unit.

If done correctly at the outset – good design does not have a sell-by date and is future-proof – the brandmark should never change. I have seen a perfectly good brandmark changed, just because a new CEO or marketing executive wants to make his or her mark. Or the brandmark gets the blame for the poor performance of the executives who manage it. The egos just can’t leave the most important part of the business alone. All the money and time spent to date and still to be spend on the origination of a new brand plus the investment needed to promote this new image are all wasted.

A successful brandmark starts with the right name, followed by the arrangement of the correct combination of visual elements, resulting in an elegant solution that does not date. Brandmarks should talk the walk, walk the talk and be positioned for tomorrow. Today’s fashion and fads should not be part of your brandmark. Reserve that for your advertising to promote, position and protect your brand.